New Study Demonstrates Improved Chronic Condition Medication Refill Adherence in Medicare Patients Using Tailored and Interactive Text Messaging

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As published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, a three-month study conducted with Kaiser Permanente demonstrated a significant difference in medication refill rates with a 14 percentage points higher refill rate in the group that received the text message intervention over the group that did not.

Personalized, interactive, tailored messaging dialogue with DOB authentication

The program results far exceed our expectations with 44% refill rate in the text message group as compared to 30% in the non-text group.

mPulse Mobile, a Los Angeles-based mobile health engagement solutions company, is pleased to announce the results of a first of its kind study assessing the impact of tailored and interactive text message dialogues on medication refill rates in Medicare patients with one or more chronic diseases. The peer-reviewed study, recently published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, found a 14 percent higher refill rate for those that received the text message intervention program.

Patient nonadherence affects 50% to 60% of chronically ill patients, and the cost of medication-related hospitalizations is $100 billion annually. Non-adherence is a major concern in the management of chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes where patients may discontinue or interrupt their medication for a variety of reasons. While text message reminders have been used to improve adherence, no other programs or studies have explored the benefits of tailored and interactive text messages with older populations and at scale.

"The program results far exceed our expectations with 44% refill rate in the text message group as compared to 30% in the non-text group," said the paper's corresponding author, Rena Brar Prayaga, Behavioral Data Scientist, mPulse Mobile. "In addition to the difference in refill rates, the 37% response rate by this older Medicare population was higher than expected and patient feedback was very positive with 96% of the patients indicating that the solution was easy to use."

The target population for the study consisted of partially adherent and non-adherent Medicare patients of Kaiser Permanente Southern California with one or more chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, and/or high cholesterol) that would be refilling oral diabetes medications, blood pressure medications and/or statins. Patients were divided into two groups: the text message group included over 12,000 patients and the non-text group included over 75,000 patients. Patients in the text message group received tailored medication refill reminder dialogues that consisted of a series of messages including prompts to authenticate by date of birth, complete a refill, ask for help, share reasons why they had not refilled, or choose to opt out of the program by numeric or textual responses on their phone. With mPulse Mobile's machine learning capabilities and use of natural language processing (NLP), patient responses were automatically recognized and handled, creating a conversational patient experience and cutting down on the amount of manual handling required from pharmacy staff.

The full study, "Improving Refill Adherence in Medicare Patients with Tailored and Interactive Mobile Text Messaging: Pilot Study" can be found at JMIR mHealth and uHealth. Authors of the study are Erwin W Jeong, PharmD, Harmony K Noble, BA from Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Rena Brar Prayaga, MA, JD, Erin Feger, BA, Magdalen Kmiec, BA, Ram S Prayaga, MS from mPulse Mobile.

Due to the success of the pilot study, the mPulse Mobile Medication Adherence program is being expanded to other Kaiser Permanente regions.

mPulse Mobile, the leader in mobile health engagement, drives improved health outcomes and business efficiencies by engaging individuals with tailored and meaningful dialogue. mPulse Mobile combines technology, analytics and industry expertise that helps healthcare organizations activate their consumers to adopt healthy behaviors. With 9 years of experience, 70+ healthcare customers and more than a hundred million messages sent annually, mPulse Mobile has the data, the expertise and the technology to drive healthy behavior change.

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Paige Mantel
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